Sunday, August 12, 2018

It's Back to School with our 2018-2019 Schedule

The dog days of summer are coming to an end.  The nice thing about homeschooling is there will still be plenty of time for swimming and running through the sprinkler, but we will be putting some more organization into our days and hitting the books.  This year we will have a 4th grader, a 3rd grader, a Kindergartener, two preschoolers, and a one year old that will likely be into everything!  We still have and love our felt board, but I'm always open to hear how you keep your little ones busy!  Extracurriculars this year include piano and gymnastics for the girls and soccer for the boys.  Two days a week, two of our boys receive outpatient Speech and Occupational Therapy.  We usually bring along some books to read in the car or the waiting room, or occasionally will run errands during this time.  

HISTORY: If you have been following us since 2015-2016, you know that we are Heart of Dakota fans, and we will be continuing with this Charlotte Mason Curriculum as the core of our homeschool.  We made several modifications, as you will see, but I absolutely love how it weaves history, bible, devotion, reading, and art together.  We allow for plenty of tangents and extra books according to our children's interests, which means that we only get through about half a guide each year.  This year we will be finishing up Bigger Hearts for His Glory.  We usually start this portion at the breakfast table, and I excuse the little ones as their attention starts to wane.  

MATH: Last year we tried Math For a Living Education by Master Books and found that it worked much better for our family.  It is a Charlotte Mason Curriculum that includes a story each week which shows a practical application for the lesson, as well as several pages of worksheets.  We will also be focusing much more this year on memorization and flash cards, as I feel we did not put enough emphasis on this in the past.  

ENGLISH: English has been such a struggle for us.  We have done Rod and Staff in the past, but our girls dislike the amount of copy work and fail to see the application of learning the structure of the English language.  They requested a workbook for English, and since I love the approach of Math for a Living Education, we have decided to try out English for a Living Education this year.

SPANISH: A sweet family friend has been coming over a couple of times a week this past month to teach us some Spanish before she moves to Mexico.  The girls have loved learning Spanish and we will probably continue with some sort of Spanish lessons after she moves.  For now, we will be working on our Spanish vocabulary during the Lunch hour.  

SCIENCE: The past two years we have used Apologia Science, studying first Astronomy and then Swimming Creatures.  We collected quite an aquarium (fish, aquatic frog, crawfish..) last year with our study of Swimming Creatures, so I am slightly apprehensive but excited about studying Flying Creatures this year. The girls are already planning on a butterfly farm and inquiring about pet birds.  A big thank you to Apologia Science for selecting us as winners on their facebook contest, so we will be receiving this curriculum for free!  Such a blessing!

APOLOGETICS: We use the Bible Curriculum in Heart of Dakota, but have decided this year to add Elementary Apologetics by Master Books for our 4th Grader.

JOURNALING: We do quite a bit of road schooling and love exploring creation.  We already have a six week trip planned to Arizona in the fall.  I truly believe that Nature is our best classroom, so when we are traveling we will often put aside many of our book lessons to allow plenty of time to explore.  When we are home, we will often school outside if the weather is fair.  I think this year we are also going to try to have our quiet & reading hour on a mat outside.  The kids will once again be required to keep a Geography and Nature Journal to document their discoveries. 

We are wishing you all a wonderful school year!  Be sure to follow us on Instagram, and we will follow back!  You may also want to check out the Back to School Survival Guide and T'was the night before school, and all through the house...  

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Hike to Utah's Iconic Delicate Arch

I love exploring off the beaten path, but the owner of the RV park we were staying at said Delicate Arch is where it's at and a must see before leaving Moab.  We had another trail already picked out, but since you never know when these beauties will fall we decided to check it out.

You'll need to travel approximately 15 miles into the park to reach the trailhead, but you'll pass many beautiful sites, including Balanced Rock and The Great Wall, along the way.  There was ample parking, including a separate lot across the street for RVs and busses.  They say the best time to photograph the Arch is in the late afternoon, but due to time restraints we had to visit midday.  Thankfully, the temperature were a perfect 50 degrees.  

Even with the cooler temperatures, much of the hike you are exposed and shade is pretty much non-existent.  Be sure to bring plenty of water.

The first half mile of the hike follows a well defined path.  At this point it even feels like you are walking more along a tourist attraction than a hike in nature.  Don't worry, the hike only gets better and breathtaking views await!

The next part of the trail you will follow the cairns along the slickrock.  The trail goes up, up, up the slickrock before leveling off.

Just before reaching the arch, the trail follows a rock ledge.

Along the ledge you'll see a "window".  If you can make the climb up to it, it’s worth the view and provides an awesome photo opportunity. I went up with our oldest three children without any problems.

There are several steep drop offs that made this momma's heart pound a little with so many kiddos to watch and keep safe.  It is certainly not the most dangerous or difficult hike that we have done, but be smart and be safe. We allowed our children to run wild and free along the slickrock, but kept a much closer rein on them along the ledge and at the arch. 

Most importantly, spend some time to take in all of God's majestic creation.  It offers some of the best views of Arches National Park!

We were in awe of the monumental size of the arch!

Where are you heading next?  Be sure to check out my travel page for other fun hikes and adventures. 

Need a snack?  NingXia Wolfberries are great fuel for the trail!